GUYANA, GINA, Saturday, May 6, 2017
A study on Indigenous women and children in Guyana was launched in the Moruca Sub-Region, Region One on Friday by the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
The launch of the study is the first of its kind in the Caribbean and Latin America. The study is expected to map the issues indigenous women and children face in the hinterland, and provide solutions that will have a positive impact on their lives.
Vice President and Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Sydney Allicock, said he was honoured to be launching a study which is aimed at the development of vulnerable groups of women and children.
Minister Allicock told residents that the study will provide the government with the information needed for better planning, management and stronger economic development.
“We have talent, we have the capacity, what we need is the opportunity and here is a good time to begin that process,” the Minister stated.
Minister Allicock pointed out that the study will be an example to follow that will make headway in each and every indigenous community and even coastal communities.
“We cannot wait until development is upon us, and that is why the information here is so important to get us in readiness for what is coming,” Minister Allicock explained.
Thee study will provide the Ministry with the opportunity to “have the facts so that the communities could be stronger, the village council could be stronger,” he posited.
Minister within the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Valerie Garrido – Lowe also speaking at the launch of the study, noted that it will help Ministries and international agencies when designing programmes for the indigenous people.
Minister Garrido-Lowe pointed out that the experiences of the indigenous women and children are unique when compared to those living on the coast.
“You cannot paint us with one Guyanese brush because we are a unique people, we have our culture that we have maintained and we have a way of thinking that people have to respect and understand when they come to work with us with projects and programmes,” the Minister explained.
Once the study is completed, it will help to empower indigenous women and children so that there is equity all across the country, she stated.
“When the findings are documented and given to the government and other agencies, they will see that although we are getting opportunities, the problem that is there most of the time is the problem of equity,” Minister Garrido-Lowe stressed.
UNICEF’S Country representative, Sylvie Fouet, said that the study will provide critical data that will serve as a guide to what is needed to be done to help the indigenous people.
However, Fouet told the residents that the study is not expected to “give you the fish, but rather to teach you how to fish”, pointing out that it is “really helping you on seeing what else we can do differently to really improve the lives of our children, women and parents.”
According to Fouet, UNICEF will continue to work with the government to provide programmes and policies for the development of indigenous communities.
The study will be done in several communities across Guyana and is expected to be completed in June 2017.
Also present at the launch of the study were Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs Alfred King, Regional Vice-Chairperson, Region One. Sarah Browne, International Researcher from UNICEF Marcio Carvalho, and representative from the Steering Committee on the study on women and children Donna Keiller-Mckinnon.
By: Isaiah Braithwaite